All the holidays that have passed since Jonathan deployed have acted as little landmarks for the proximity of his return. He may have forbidden me to count down, but we didn’t lay down any ground rules about knowing, as each holiday passes, we’re one holiday closer to his return.
Unfortunately for George Washington, his birthday holiday lands a little too close to Valentine’s Day to warrant its own care-package-countdown celebration. Not that I don’t care about George Washington; in fact, honoring the country’s first president and honoring a spirit of love goes together easily.
Look at how great George was to Martha during their separations. I think the most romantic thing I’ve said to Jonathan during this deployment is “I hope these brownies don’t grow mold and make you vomit.”
I mentioned on Valentine’s Day that we shouldn’t need an excuse to remind the people we love that we love them; I don’t know what significance June 23, 1775 had for George Washington to remind his wife, but whatever urged him on that day urges me, on this day, to take a page from his book. Literally. George Washington has a whole book containing his rules of civility and decent behavior. He has a lot of opinions.
So in George Washington’s spirit of affection through time and distance (and with the Hallmark Holiday still fresh in our brains), please allow me to swoon over the reminders of both love and civility I’ve experienced of late.
Washington’s first rule of civility states:
Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
I’d like to think that’s the rule Jonathan enacted when choosing the flowers he sent to me at work for Valentine’s Day. If respect is measured by the size of the flower box, the respect Jonathan has for me is nearly as tall as I am.
Washington’s 56th rule of civility states:
Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ‘is better to be alone than in bad Company.
I can only assume that by “Men of Good Quality,” Washington was referring anachronistically to the Boy Who Lived.
Jonathan’s only mistake in giving me this gift of his good Harry Potter company is that, for the rest of his life, he may actually never be able to top it.
Be not forward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it’s a time to Converse.
This rule is a good guide for giving valentines out at work. Not too forward (these are coworkers; not women in miniskirts you met at a club–conversation hearts that say DREAM OF YOU or LET’S KISS in all caps may not be totally appropriate), friendly, and courteous. (The courteous comes in because I know some of my coworkers are allergic to nuts, so I specifically chose a recipe that wouldn’t send anyone into anaphylactic shock. I know. I’m too thoughtful sometimes.)
Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.
Because Valentine’s Day is also a day we should celebrate love for our family, these Flight of the Conchords valentines I delivered to my sister’s office anonymously were certainly due.
Happy Presidents Day. And if you don’t buy that this second Valentine’s Day post isn’t appropriate for Presidents Day, and you think I should have done better, you clearly have not paid attention to Washington’s 44th rule of civility:
When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.
(And maybe take #49 into consideration as well: Use no Reproachful Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.)